breastvest was invented by mother-of-one Sam Telfer during her maternity leave in 2007.
After giving birth to Fred and deciding to breastfeed, she was conscious that she had two choices: either limit her wardrobe options to a woeful selection of hole and flap-filled breastfeeding tops, or show the world the burst balloon which had apparently crept in and replaced her stomach.
She explains: "I found breastfeeding clothing pretty shapeless and often felt ridiculous trying to negotiate the variety of holes, poppers and flaps while trying to give Fred his next feed – especially when we were in the middle of a busy cafe or restaurant.
"Also, although I wanted to feed Fred for at least six months, the thought of not being able to wear any of my favourite pre-pregnancy tops, just because I was breastfeeding was frustrating.
"So, I started wearing non-breastfeeding tops, and went on to ruin each and every neckline in quick succession from pulling them down to feed."
Once she talked to few fellow breastfeeding mums about her problem, it quickly became clear she wasn't the only one who wanted some sort of simple but effective coverage for their postnatal tummy when breastfeeding.
And she certainly wasn't the only frustrated mum who wanted to open the doors to her pre-pregnancy wardrobe without having to think about the practicalities of breastfeeding.
Following a fruitless search for what she was looking for, she opted for a homemade solution... involving an old maternity vest and a pair of scissors.
Sam says: "What I was looking for was a vest, without the breast-bit. The straps held it in place, and the vest – which needed to be a long one - covered my postnatal tummy.
"It meant I could wear normal tops, and just pull them up when I wanted to feed... and it didn't interfere with my nursing bra."
And so, the first breastvest prototype was born.
Confident that she had hit on something which breastfeeding mums would find invaluable, she set about getting a shipment of sample breastvests made for product testing.
Almost 50 breastfeeding mums took part in the product testing programme.
They each used a breastvest for two weeks and then filled in a detailed feedback questionnaire.
The results speak for themselves...
• 75% of testers bought a breastvest
• 95% of testers found breastvest helped them feed more comfortably and confidently
• 95% would recommend breastvest to their friends and family
• 95% would consider continuing to wear breastvest as an under garment even when they have stopped feeding... to bridge the baby-shelf gap which so many mums complain about
• All women found feeding in public easier with breastvest
• A high proportion of testers said breastvest would help them feed their baby for longer, for various reasons ranging from feeling good in normal clothes and feeling more comfortable by not revealing too much flesh when feeding in public or company, to how easy breastvest is to use and the confidence it gives breastfeeding mums.
Sam says: “The feedback was just fantastic. We were in no doubt that breastvest was solving a widespread problem.
“We also took on board other feedback in terms of a few design tweaks – many of our testers said they would prefer breastvest to be a bit longer, and would like the straps to be a little further apar so as not to interfere with the nursing bra clips.
“Once we had made these changes, we were ready to go into production.”
Throughout the development of breastvest, Sam had drawn on the advice of lots of fellow mums and friends… none more so than school friend Helen Preen, who gave birth to a baby girl, Katie a month before Sam had Fred.
So, it seemed very sensible for Helen, who had a background in finance and business management, to come on board as an official partner once breastvest was on the market becoming more popular by the day.
Helen says: "I knew from the moment Sam talked about her idea for breastvest that she had hit on an amazing idea. I've had another baby since breastvest launched, and genuinely thought it was a fantastic product.
"I was thrilled to come on board as a partner in 2010 and can't wait to spread the word about breastvest to new mums everywhere!"
Sam says: "Helen was a driving force behind breastvest going from an idea in a new mum's head to a reality which is being worn by thousands of mums all over the UK and beyond. It's fantastic that she is now an official partner."
Available in black and white as well as a steady stream of limited edition colours, breastvest comes in Extra-Small, Small, Medium, Large and Extra-Large.
breastvest is available online at www.breastvest.co.uk and in a selection of independent stores throughout the UK.
Thousands of mums (including former Hollyoaks actress and wife of premiership footballer, Danny Murphy, Joanna Taylor don't you know..) are already enjoying the benefits of breastvest and we are delighted to say that we have had a raft of fantastic reviews (see our reviews page) and feedback testimonials from mums and health professionals who work with breastfeeding mums every day.
Sam says: "It's so lovely to hear direct from breastfeeding mums that wearing a breastvest makes them feel more confident, more comfortable and makes breastfeeding easier all round.
"I can't wait to have another baby so I can benefit from breastvest myself!"
For press and marketing enquiries, please contact Sam at breastvest: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: 07920 748 789